Future Rural & Community Services uncertain

26th Feb 2013

The NSW State Government announced major reforms to services for rural landholders late last year. These will have significant impacts on services for rural land managers and the community throughout NSW, including Glen Innes and the New England North West region.

The Government plans are for a new organisation called ‘Local Land Services’ (LLS) to administer services currently provided by the Catchment Management Authorities (CMA’s), Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (LHPA’s) and parts of NSW DPI. The new LLS is to commence delivering its services from January 2014.

Glen Innes has been selected as the only venue on the Northern Tablelands for an LLS community workshop to answer questions and help shape the new LLS. The workshop will be on Tuesday 26th February at the Glen Innes & District Services Club from 3:30pm to 6:30pm. Interested rural and community members are being urged to attend.

Our local Landcare network ‘GLENRAC’, is watching developments with more than a little interest. GLENRAC’S base funding has, in the past been obtained through contracts to both the Northern Rivers and Border Rivers Gwydir Catchment Management Authorities. Its operations may potentially be affected by the proposed merger into the new Local Land Services body.

When asked where GLENRAC would fit into the new LLS service, GLENRAC Chairman, Mr Bavea said “It is not clear, and we will certainly be going in to bat for a useful place.” “GLENRAC has, over the past 24 years provided both significant employment and extensive environmental benefits to the region”, he said.

Mr Bavea advised that in the last three years GLENRAC has attracted over $978,000 in funding over and above the $220,000 base funding provided by the CMAs. In addition, GLENRAC had built up a local and skilled staff in natural resource and event management for the promoting both care of the environment and the promotion of sustainable farming practices. As such, GLENRAC and its people have much to offer any new and well-constructed LLS structure.”

“With the DPI extension service, the LHPA, and the CMAs all being merged, there will be a big upheaval to the existing services. It is vital that these LLS workshops are well attended by people willing to put a strong view.

GLENRAC Board member, Tony Holliss added, “Recent workshops held throughout NSW have questioned how Biosecurity services will be provided and whether or not agricultural extension will still be provided once the DPI has withdrawn its present services”

“How will the LLS be paid for, the sort of rating system to be applied, the level of rates to be set and whether public landholders will pay as well as private landowners are all questions to be resolved.” He said “Further questions are being asked as to where future responsibility may rest for pests and weeds might lie?” “These and other issues still appear to be undecided.”

Mr Hollis said that the meeting on February 26 gives our community not only an opportunity to influence policy but to do so can only bring credit and long term benefits to the district.

To view the latest Local Land Services information and RSVP for workshops visit www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au.locallandservices or contact the GLENRAC office on 02 6732 3443 and we will RSVP on your behalf. Only online registrations are accepted.

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